751.5/6–1452: Telegram

No. 521
The Ambassador in France (Dunn) to the Department of State


7826. Cotel.


In response urgent request by Pleven for info he cld use in connection his speech to Assem Re Mil budget (Embtel 7805, June 131), we gave Pleven on June 12 the fol informal memo:

Begin text. “1. The US has under active consideration the additional offshore purchase proposals which the Fr authorities submitted to the US on May 6.2

2. As was anticipated in recent discussions, it was not possible for the US to come to any firm decisions in this matter by June 10. [Page 1216] However, everything possible is being done to provide the Fr auths with some replies by July 1.

3. As has been stated, the US favors as a general principle offshore purchase of mil items in Fr. The program of offshore purchases under the Lisbon Agrmt is rapidly nearing completion. Also arrangements have already been agreed upon to purchase from Fr shipyards a number of ships whose total cost approximates $55 mill. Both of these transactions have been made from funds available in the US fiscal year which ends on June 30.

4. The type and amt of offshore purchases that may be effected from the funds for the next US fiscal year, beginning July 1, will of course depend on a number of factors. The legis which will provide these funds is still under consideration by the cong, and naturally any decisions re specific offshore purchases wld depend upon the availability of funds. In addition, the prices of the Fr items that have been suggested for offshore procurement will have to be compared to those for similar articles which are quoted in the US and other sources. Also the items suggested by the Fr auths for offshore procurement wld have to be considered as part of the US end-item program for Fr, and this involves a number of questions such as priorities of items within the overall programs, prities [priorities] as to delivery dates, etc.” End text.

We believe this conforms to sense of Deptel 7256 June 9,3 and not inconsistent with DA 910666, June 74 (see Embtel 7722, June 115).

Mil Budget debate has been carried over to June 17. Both Fin and Natl Def Commissions have insisted during debate on necessity of govt submitting before July 15 report on effect US offshore purchases will have upon Fr def production program. Commissions explained that if, as result this report, transfers of credits are deemed necess, these shld be effected before July 31 (clear implication is that funds wld be shifted to def production at expense other categories of budget, e.g. infra-structure). Pleven has expressed hope he cld comply by July 15 with comites desire to have details on what US will do in OSP. Assem may well vote such a rider to Mil budget bill.
In light foregoing, it appears most urgent that Wash decision as to country team recommendations made Embtel 7455, May 296 be reached by July 1, in order that we may be in position give Pleven sufficient details on which to base his July 15 statement.
  1. Telegram 7805 summarized Pleven’s speech during the budget debate in the National Assembly on June 12, a speech in which Pleven emphasized that France would meet its commitments in Europe and Indochina. (751.5/6–1352)
  2. For a summary of these proposals, see Document 516.
  3. This telegram informed the Embassy that examination of the French proposals was progressing well in the Department of Defense and that the Department of State foresaw no difficulty in having the U.S. reply ready by July 1 although it could not forecast the probable nature of the decisions. (740.5 MSP/6–952)
  4. This Department of the Army telegram informed the Chief of the MAAG in Paris of the tentative position of the U.S. Army on the French proposals. (751.5 MSP/6–752)
  5. This telegram recommended giving Pleven certain assurances regarding the U.S. attitude toward the proposed procurement before the procedures necessary to establish the form of the end-item program for offshore procurement were completed. (740.5 MSP/6–1052)
  6. This telegram is a detailed 7-page analysis of the May 6 French proposal by Embassy personnel in which they emphasized the “extreme importance” of political considerations that had to be evaluated in formulating a reply to the French. (751.5 MSP/5–2952)